Is forgiving student loans fair?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

President Biden.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Getty Images)

President Biden last week unveiled his long-awaited plan to forgive some student loan debt. Biden said his administration would cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loans for borrowers making under $125,000 a year, and another $10,000 for Pell Grant recipients under the same income threshold. Biden also extended the coronavirus-sparked repayment moratorium, which was set to expire at the end of August, until Dec. 31. Biden also said the administration would cut from 10 percent to 5 percent the amount of discretionary income that borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan must pay each month. Biden said he knew people on all sides of the issue would be unhappy with some parts of his plan.

Some progressives have called for bigger cuts in outstanding student loans, arguing that generational wealth disparities saddle Black and Hispanic families with heavier student debt, and the inequities are compounded after graduation because minority graduates typically earn less, making them more likely to default and preventing them from improving their financial situation by starting businesses or buying homes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), echoing complaints from other conservatives, called Biden's plan a "wildly unfair redistribution" of wealth, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said it amounted to a gift to any "slacker barista who wasted seven years in college studying completely useless things." Is Biden's student-debt policy fair?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.